Here we are again, staring down the barrel of April 15, a couple months away. But there’s no need to let dread and fear paralyze you. There are things you can do now to prepare.
First, get your mind in the right place. All that good advice you’ve heard in the past still applies:
- Don’t procrastinate any longer.
- Get your records in good order.
- Don’t mess with the IRS; respect deadlines and penalties.
- Start putting your documentation and payments in order for next year.
But here’s the most important thing to keep in mind:
- There’s a good amount of help and resources available for small business owners. And much of it is free.
There’s no substitute for engaging the services of a tax pro, and hopefully you already have one. But there’s usually work to do before you turn your records over. Besides that, you can’t have too much knowledge and understanding of your own tax situation. This is definitely one of the small business “hats” you need to be wearing.
It may be the most obvious, but it’s a good place to start. Regardless of your type of business, you’ll find wealth of resources, including articles, videos, guidelines and forms at the IRS’s Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. Also critical: Information on the Affordable Care Act, including its tax provisions and implications.
So, you’re thinking you have neither the time nor patience to navigate the vast resources of the IRS! That’s why you need to check out tax expert Bonnie Lee’s recommendations for free small business tax resources at Fox Small Business. Lee does a lot of the heavy lifting for you and hones in on a number of really useful tools, many from the IRS:
- The IRS Video Portal. All kinds of video clips and audio from national phone forums, webinars, etc. on a variety of tax topics.
- The IRS Audits Video Series. Step by step audit process and audit-related issues.
- The IRS Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop. An interactive presentation on your federal tax rights and responsibilities as a business owner.
- IRS Tax Calendar for Small Business Taxpayers. Twelve months of information ranging from social security to retirement plans to filing dates and options.
- Selecting a Business Structure (IRS). The legal and tax implications of different business structures.
- Tax Guide for Small Business. Answers to almost all small business tax questions.
One additional tool you should check out: The IRS’s e-News for Small Business. It’s a free newsletter loaded with tax information for small business and comes out on Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, the Frugal Entrepreneur points out other important sources of tax tools and help for small business owners. For example, three of the biggest tax software companies offer free online federal tax filing options if you’re filing a simple return or 1040EZ. The site says there are also paid online versions for more complex returns (along with tips and information for maximizing your deductions) that aren’t that expensive and are worth considering. Check them out at TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxACT.
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